philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


MoviePass co-founder’s new startup PreShow gives you free movie tickets for watching ads

As founding CEO of MoviePass, Stacy Spikes has already changed the way we think about paying for movie tickets. Now he’s pursuing a new approach — providing a free ticket to people who watch 15 to 20 minutes of ads.

To make that work, he said the new service, called PreShow, is bringing a of couple innovations to the table. First, there’s facial recognition technology that ensures you’re actually present and watching the ad.

By watching one of these 15 to 20-minute packages, you should earn enough points to purchase a ticket at the theater using a virtual credit card provided by PreShow. Technically, those points can be used to buy any movie ticket, but Spikes said you won’t be able to earn more than two tickets at once, “so people don’t stockpile.”

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Billionaire Has a New Goal for His 17,000 Workers: Learn to Code

1000x-1Less than a decade after stunning workers at his Japanese tech giant with an edict to learn English, billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani wants to do the same with computer programming.

 Rakuten Inc. may soon expect its more than 17,000 employees to know how a computer compiles a program and understand the difference between a CPU and GPU (one is the brains of a PC, the other runs the graphics). Underpinning that is a mandatory, entry-level ability to code.

“If you’re working for Toyota, for example, you know how the automobile works -- basic structure of the engine, suspension and so forth,” Mikitani told Emily Chang of Bloomberg Television. “So if you work for an IT services company, you need to have the basic knowledge of what’s in the computer.”

An ability to write Python code or dissect the differences between fourth- and fifth-generation wireless networks isn’t something that most tech companies would treat as a prerequisite for a non-operations role. While the World Economic Forum estimates that more than half of workers are going to need significant training by 2022, few seem to be following the lead of companies such as Nokia Oyj, which has plans to make familiarity with machine learning mandatory.

‘They value what we think’: TikTok launches a charm offensive for video creators

TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese tech company Bytedance, has been on a charm offensive to video creators, and it’s working. Several video creators, who have worked across other social apps, said TikTok’s team has been helpful and supportive since the app rebranded from to TikTok last August. That’s quite unique compared to the experience they had working with other apps like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram in their early years. So far, it’s encouraged creators to use the app more and promote it to their peers.

Nathan Piland, a rapper who has 2.1 million fans on TikTok, said he believes he was one of the first 100 people verified on when he joined about three years ago. But since the app transitioned to TikTok, his relationship with the company has gotten stronger.

Beyond events, TikTok manages Slack groups for creators. Most of the conversations were about tech support issues, creators say, but it also helped them meet other people and think of ways to collaborate. That especially helped creators who aren’t based in Los Angeles, where Bytedance has an office.

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How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

One of the most intriguing elements of Laika’s ever-expanding toolkit is its growing collection of 3D printers. Using the cutting-edge technique of rapid prototyping, Laika has revolutionized stop-motion animation, using advanced handmade puppets with incredibly expressive faces to walk an intriguing line between realism and fantasy.See the full story here:


Virtual & Augmented Reality in Aerospace & Defense – Thematic Research, 2019 –

The story lists research topics and companies at the link.


UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute Shows Off Virtual Reality, Wildfire Technology

suncave_1_t800The "SunCAVE" at UC San Diego's Qualcomm Institute has 70 monitors with 4K resolution that researchers said create the world's highest resolution virtual reality system.

"One of the things we’re doing here at UC San Diego is generating scientific and archaeological content at high resolution," said California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology Director Larry Smarr.

Researchers have created models that when combined with wind speed and other weather conditions can predict what a fire will do.

"Wind-driven fires move really fast, but if you can get ahead of it you can manage it better," Altintas said.

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The Oculus Rift S is real and arrives in spring for $399

Oculus-Rift-S-1...the biggest improvements to the Oculus Rift S are a move to the company’s inside-out “Insight” camera tracking system and modest updates to the display resolution. The biggest surprise is that this headset is being built in partnership with Lenovo and the Rift S seems to have strongly inherited Lenovo’s design ethos for its VR products, for better or worse…

The Rift S will be replacing the Rift in the Oculus product lineup.

Here’s what’s different:

  • Small resolution increase per eye from (1080 x 1200) to (1280 x 1440), improved lenses
  • Frame rate is dropping from 90hz to 80hz
  • Switched from OLED to the LCD panels used on Oculus Go
  • 5 onboard cameras for inside-out camera tracking
  • Ships with updated Oculus Touch controllers, same as what ships with Quest
  • Loses the on-ear headphones for cheaper-sounding near-ear speakers similar to Oculus Go
  • Ditches the flexible strap for a rigid “halo” design like the PlayStation VR headset
  • FoV is “slightly larger” on the Rift S compared to the Rift, Oculus tells us
  • No manual adjustment of distance between your eyes (IPD)
  • PC spec requirements are largely the same, though you may need a faster CPU we are told
  • More expensive than the last generation at $399 versus $349
  • Launching in spring 2019

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Mechdyne Announces the World’s First Virtual Reality CAVE Using Direct View LED

The DV-LED includes many of the same features that made the CAVE environment a successful collaboration tool for businesses and universities around the world, including:

  • 4K and higher resolution
  • Scalable image size
  • 2D and 3D/VR options
  • Motion tracking capabilities
  • Lower maintenance requirements
  • Less space requirements

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Augmented reality when? We asked Magic Leap, Facebook, Google, and more

[Over a dozen short interviews in this article.]

i-6-an-oral-history-of-mixed-realityand8217s-near-futureTHE FUTURE OF COMPUTERS IS SPATIAL

There’s no question that some serious technical challenges stand in the way of developing a pair of XR glasses that are stylish enough that you’d want to wear them for extended periods in public. The components needed to put enough computing power into a small space on a person’s face—and keep it all cool—just isn’t yet ready for prime time. Tech companies still struggle to deliver graphics at the kind of resolution the human eye is capable of seeing, to extend the field of view to something approaching the eye’s natural field of view, and to create eye tracking that follows the human gaze accurately. From a consumer point of view, the mixed reality experiences I’ve seen so far feel like works in progress.

Plenty of XR content–the experiences–will have to be available, too, including games and other entertainment. And there’s a chicken-and-egg problem: Software developers don’t want to invest big dollars in creating XR experiences until they see that the hardware is selling but that people won’t want the hardware until there are plenty of games and entertainment to play on it.

These issues will be worked out. The days of squinting into a little black rectangle and pecking at apps are probably numbered. Will it be some form of XR glasses that liberate us from that paradigm? Maybe. Or, as Camera IQ’s Allison Wood suggests, XR may show up in a variety of devices.

It may come down to a question of how truly important digital content is to living life productively and enjoyably—and how much control companies give consumers over that content. Will people really want digital layers and holograms to be showing up in their worldview all day? If they’re OK with that in XR glasses then will they be equally comfortable with it in something like AR contact lenses? How about just jacking the digital content right into the optical nerve? How close is too close?

It’ll be consumers that decide these things over time. The people and companies above, and others like them, will have to listen closely to successfully navigate the technological shift over the next decade.

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HP Unveils Reverb VR HMD – Cutting-Edge Virtual Reality Headset at Global Partner Conference

Joining HP’s comprehensive VR portfolio, the HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset – Professional Edition delivers truly immersive and transformative experiences for work and life with amazing clarity with its staggering 2160 x 2160 panel per eye with double the resolutionand 114-degree field of view.

HP Reverb also features integrated headphones with spatial audio and smart assistant compatible dual microphones for a greater immersive experience and collaboration in multi-user VR environments.

HP Reverb Professional Edition Pricing and Availability

  • The HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset – Pro Edition is scheduled for availability starting in late-April for $649 (U.S.).
  • Pro Edition price includes: HP VR Headset, 3.5m headset cable for desktop and mobile PCs, .6m headset cable for HP Z VR Backpack wearable VR PC (sold separately), 2 motion controllers, cleanable face cushion, 1 DisplayPort™ to mini-DisplayPort™ adapter. The Pro Edition has a 1-year limited commercial warranty.

HP Reverb Consumer Edition Available

  • The HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset – Consumer Edition is scheduled for availability starting in late-April for $599 (U.S.).
  • Consumer Edition price includes the same as the pro edition except for the .6m headset cable and washable fabric face cushion. The Consumer Edition includes a 1-year limited consumer warranty.

See the full press release here: